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Westmoreland County Controller Balzer, IRS at odds

| Monday, March 10, 2014, 11:21 p.m.

Westmoreland County Controller Jeffrey Balzer, who makes his living auditing county offices and finances, is facing a tax lien placed against him Monday by the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS claims that Balzer owes $22,300 in taxes on income he earned while working as a self-employed public insurance adjuster in 2010.

Balzer isn't taking the lien lying down.

“It's almost like dealing with the mob. There's nothing good about the IRS,” said Balzer, 48, a Republican from New Alexandria who is serving his first term in office.

Jenny Jenkins, spokeswoman for the IRS's field media relations office, which serves the Pennsylvania Western Region, could not be reached for comment Monday night.

The delinquent tax bill is owed on income Balzer earned prior to his election as county controller in 2012.

Balzer said his fledgling business, which represents private homeowners in battles with insurance companies, took off in 2010.

He earns a percentage of insurance claims he secures.

“My first two years in the business, I didn't make any money. The third year was a very, very good year, and I didn't pay enough in taxes,” Balzer said.

His income tax bill came in at more than $30,000, he said.

He said he continues to work as a public adjuster in the evenings and on weekends. He now has eight clients, down from a roster of about 40.

Taxpayers will pay Balzer more than $65,000 this year to serve as county controller.

Efforts to settle his delinquent tax bill for a lesser amount have been rebuffed by the IRS, Balzer said. He said he paid more than $5,000 and asked the IRS to resolve the delinquency. The agency declined.

Balzer said he had no additional funds to pay off the full amount owed.

“I'm going to pay it off. I'll work with the IRS to get it paid off eventually,” Balzer said.

Balzer said he holds no love for the IRS.

“Personally, I think it's my destiny to contribute to the downfall of the IRS in the United States,” Balzer said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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